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Minister of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Robert Pickersgill, has said that the capital development programme at the Norman Manley International Airport as well as infrastructural improvements to the Sangster International Airport, would be a major boost to the country’s tourism sector.
“In less than two years, the Sangster International Airport will be unveiled as a truly first class international gateway to the world and will further serve to significantly augment the tourism product and enhance brand Jamaica,” Minister Pickersgill said.
The Minister, who was speaking in the House of Representatives on November 28, said phase two of the capital development programme was completed since November last year at a cost of more than US$8.5 million, having commenced in November 2003, well ahead of the January 2004 commencement date. According to Mr. Pickersgill, improvements to the Norman Manley International Airport, answered calls for upgrading of the airport’s infrastructure, especially when there were improvements being effected on the airport in Montego Bay.
The Minister said the major expansion programme at the Sangster International Airport was also being carried out in three phases at a value of approximately US$200 million, with phase two slated to begin next month at an estimated cost of some US$65 million.
Major renovation to the departure lounge, ground floor ticketing area and the customs hall are expected to be the focus in this phase of the project.
“It is to be noted that the new customs hall and arrivals and ground transportation halls will be ready by the end of January,” Minister Pickersgill said, adding that the remainder of the phase would be completed by June 2008.
Outlining the features of the improved airport, the Minister said that “a new 11-gate concourse is now in place with the capacity to accommodate six wide body aircraft, complete with gate lounges, passenger loading bridges and 13 new retail and food outlets”.
With respect to the Norman Manley International Airport, the Airports Authority of Jamaica, following Government’s policy to privatise its international airports, embarked on the extensive capital development programme.
“This was timely as certain capital improvements will be unveiled in time for the upcoming World Cup [of Cricket] next year. [and] presently, construction is well advanced on the main terminal expansion project,” the Minister said.
Mr. Pickersgill said the full project would be complete by October next year, adding that he had toured the facility this week, and observed that the project was on schedule.